Apple turns to one supplier for thin backlight for iPhone 9

Supply chain sources say that Apple will turn to one backlight supplier for its LCD iPhone model this year.

Digitimes reports that Japan’s Nichia will be providing an LED backlight that’s only 0.3mm thick in contrast to the current standard 0.4mm LED. The company has been trialing its thinner product since early this year to work out any visibility issues from off-angles. The product is expected to come on the 6.1-inch model, perhaps the iPhone 9, the most affordable of three models expected out in September.

Unlike an OLED display, such as the one on the iPhone X and on its two 2018 sequels, an LCD is not self-illuminating and requires LED backlights.

Sources note what are called 0.4t LED chips allow for smartphone frontal designs with down to a 4mm “chin” bezel off the display. 0.3t chips may be able to take that chin bezel down to 2mm. As Apple tends to be a fan of symmetry, we’d expect that if the company is able to push for a uniform 2mm bezel around its Super Retina (Liquid Crystal) Display, it will, though it is dependent on other internal parts within the hardware compartment.

Case manufacturer Olixar leaked out schematics of the three new iPhones for this year and bezels and suggested that the 6.1-inch LCD model would have thick bezels to accommodate for physical shortcomings.

Nichia will ramp up the manufacturing for its 0.3t LED chips with scale tests this month and regular production by the start of September. Apple is said to have Nichia’s capacity booked for the second half of the year.

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Jules Wang
Jules Wang is News Editor for Pocketnow and one of the hosts of the Pocketnow Weekly Podcast. He came onto the team in 2014 as an intern editing and producing videos and the podcast while he was studying journalism at Emerson College. He graduated the year after and entered into his current position at Pocketnow, full-time.